Buffalo Bills HC Rex Ryan
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Opening Statement: Like we said, last day of training camp. Really, I tip my hat to St. John Fisher for doing a tremendous job again. It’s been the staff, everything about it—dorms, cafeteria, meeting rooms, I mean it’s a great place to have training camp and it just seems to get better and better the more we’re here. Just a great job. We’re going to miss them, but it also shows that it’s that time where all of a sudden you break camp and you realize, wow, the regular season’s getting closer and closer upon us. I feel good about some things that we really wanted to accomplish in training camp. I think from a defensive standpoint, I really love where we’re at with the communication. You’re going to have to beat us physically, and not mentally, and I think that bodes well for us. And it’s not just with the first-team, it’s the first, second, third team, anybody that’s out there. I think the coaches have done a tremendous job teaching. I think offensively, you know, obviously it’s much smoother than it was last year. We know who our quarterback is and we’re way ahead of where we were last year too at this time obviously. So I feel good about that. Special teams, we haven’t had a whole lot of work there but we added some players that we thought would make a difference on (special) teams and it kind of looks like those two guys especially have done that, with Zo (Lorenzo Alexander) and really a bunch of these guys, but Colt Anderson. So it wasn’t obviously a perfect training camp but I think we accomplished a lot of things in this camp. So with that, I’ll open it up for questions.

Q: Coach is there any reason Stephon Gilmore hasn’t taken a lot of team reps the past few days?
A: Yeah, we’ve just been holding him out. He’s not really hurt, we’re just kind of resting him up and we’ve done that periodically through training camp with some of the veteran players. We’re just keeping them fresh.

Q: What happened to Marquise Goodwin?
A: Goodwin is now in the concussion protocol so that’s what happened there, that last play. So I guess he’s in the concussion protocol. It wasn’t legs or anything else, so we’ll see how that goes. (Jordan) Mills left with a knee, I can’t tell you the extent of that. And then we had, oh yeah, (Nickell) Robey (Robey-Coleman) with a quad contusion.

Q: Cardale (Jones) looked like he didn’t practice today, similar to yesterday. What’s his status?
A: Can’t really give you a status for the game or not. We’ll see how he is. His shoulder’s sore, but I don’t have the extent of the injury but he took a hit in the game but he continued, he played the rest of the game with it. Generally that’s an indication that it’s not a huge injury but I hope that’s the case, that it’s not serious.

Q: I know it’s a few days before the game but it’s the last time we’ll get you. Can you give us any update on Sammy Watkins potentially making his preseason debut?
A: I think Sammy will. He probably won’t be in there a whole lot but he is scheduled to play.

Q: You’ve seen enough from him to feel confident that that foot is good-to-go?
A: Yes. Yep. I think he had a good day today too, but yeah, we wouldn’t put him out there if that wasn’t the case. Manny Lawson will make his preseason debut as well.

Q: Coach what happened last preseason game? I know you said Watkins might get a series there but he was inactive. He was dressed for warmups, was it just a last minute decision?
A: Well, you know, people with a difference of opinion and people that I’ll lean on said that it was best to just get him through this spot and then we’ll build him up to play in this game. So I wasn’t going to just throw him out there and I was the only one that felt that way.

Q: Rex it seemed like Shaq Lawson has been doing a little bit more the last couple of days. Is there any more clear timetable that you have on him? How far has he come?
A: No, I really have no update. I know he’s been training—I think behind closed doors, this guy works his tail off in there. So I think they’ll probably just progress him with more running and stuff but he’s been working hard.

Q: Rex, this team’s dealt with a lot of hurdles this training camp. How do you think the team has handled all the different things that have come up?
A: I think we’ve handled it extremely well. I mean guys are focused and we’re playing well, that’s the thing. We’re practicing well against each other, we’re playing well, so that’s a big thing. We don’t want to major in putting hurdles out there but we seem to do a pretty good job of it right now.

Q: Where do you think your defense is now?
A: A hell of a lot further along than we were last year. I mean that goes without saying but I think it’s pretty obvious. Just every day in practice, that’s a different defense than it was last year, thank goodness.

Q: Where does Dez Lewis stand in training camp after a solid mini-camp and OTAs?
A: I haven’t seen that big of an improvement from him. He’ll get some opportunities and he’s got to stand up if he wants to make this team. He’s got to earn it, nobody’s going to give you anything. I love having a big-size guy that should be a red-zone threat but eventually you got to come down with some plays.

Q: Do you think you’ll have (Kolby) Listenbee or (Marcus) Easley back at practice anytime soon?
A: No.

Q: Would they be PUP list at the start of the season then?
A: I’m not sure but I mean ‘soon?’ I just look at that as the near-future. I don’t see that as a possibility.

Q: Greg Salas seemed to be involved a lot today being back on the field. Is he one of the guys that you need on the field in the passing game in a big situation?
A: We’d like for him, without question. I think he’s proven that he’s a reliable target. The thing that he hasn’t proved over his career is that he can stay healthy. And again this year, he has the hamstring, so that’s a concern. But when he’s out there, we know he’s a fine receiver.

Q: Walt Powell, he’s just continued to make plays and looks very consistent out there. Have you been impressed with what he’s done?
A: Well I would say he’s probably not as consistent as we’d like, but you know you’re going to get great effort from Walt. He’s a courageous kid but that’s kind of what we’re trying to focus on, is him being more consistent and I’m talking about with everything. Alignment, assignment—all that type of stuff, his technique. Those are the types of things we keep harping on and I think if he can do those things, he’s got good skills, so we just keep working with him and I know he’s a hard-working kid so hopefully he’ll get even better.

Q: It certainly doesn’t seem that you’re easing Seantrel Henderson into practice. You’ve been throwing him in with the ones and twos. What is your thought process on throwing him into the fire?
A: Yeah, we haven’t given him the plays that he would normally get but he seems to be handling it well. It’s got to be tough. That’s not easy to step right back in but I think the best way to get out there is to go against good players and that way he can measure himself—where he is, how much he needs to improve or whatever. But going against a Jerry Hughes—Jerry Hughes is going to work you and that’s good to see.

Q: Based on what you’ve seen from the first two days of Seantrel, do you think he’s got a shot of paying on Friday?
A: You know, I’m not real sure. I think we’d probably like that, but let’s make sure of it before—I’m not even sure if he’s comfortable with that yet.

Q: Rex, how is Cordy Glenn coming along?
A: He’s coming along pretty decent. Obviously he’s not going to play this week and he may actually, if he’s ready to go, we may put him in there for a series or two the following week. I’m not sure, we’ll see what his comfort level is. It’s hard to go into a game when you haven’t had any work, especially missing the practice time he’s missed. Like Kyle Williams might not play a whole heck of a lot but Kyle’s been practicing every day so that’s something that you kind of have to judge and even a player has to be honest too.

Q: Is he still on track to play the first game?
A: That’s my understanding.

Q: Rex, how do you balance the starter’s playing time in the third preseason game? Typically starters play most of the game.
A: Well that’s been historically what you do. People always call it a dress rehearsal but I’ve always taken a little different approach. We won’t study the opponent, we’re just going to put the ball down and let her go and I think that’s what we’ve always done.

Q: Last year there was a possibility where you kept two fullbacks. Is it a possibility to keep Glenn Gronkowski?
A: I’m not going to say anything because he keeps working. I like how he played this past week, seems to be getting better and better, so I definitely wouldn’t say that he’s got no chance. I would definitely not say that.

Q: Could both fullbacks make it?
A: I think both can make it. I think when you look at it, you try to keep the best players you got on your roster and obviously Doug (Whaley) and I will have those discussions and we’ll see. But I do like the way the young man’s playing.

Q: Who’s taken the biggest strides? Give me a couple of guys off the top of your head.
A: I think (Jerel) Worthy. I think he’s come a long way. And then looking at it defensively, I think (Lavar) Edwards too. I think he’s improved quite a bit and then I think our entire secondary, I think our coverage, is way better than it was this time last year, anytime last year. And then offensively, it’s hard to say but I think (Cyrus) Kouanjio, I think he’s done a real nice job at left tackle for us. And then I really like where Tyrod is. I would point to those guys specifically.

Q: For someone who said you want to put last year behind you, you mentioned it twice. You must feel a sense of confidence knowing that this team is further along.
A: No, I absolutely do. I knew it from the guys that we hired, that it was going to be a lot better. And it is, so I’m not surprised. And I’ve said it from day one, we’ll improve on last year. There’s no question about it. Whether who’s here, who’s not here, I knew we’d get better and I think that’s a tribute number one to our players for just saying, “You know what? We’re all in.” And I think to our coaches and some of the guys we brought in that’ve made a difference.

Q: Is (Dan) Carpenter kicking off the ball Saturday a sign that maybe you carry just one kicker this season?
A: Well we’ll see. One thing you can’t take away, you know, I think we led the league in kickoff coverage last year and the year before and a big part of it is (Jordan) Gay kicking off. So that’s something you can look at but we have to be ready and if the roster calls for it, that we need that other spot, then Dan is got to be able to handle both duties.

QB Tyrod Taylor
Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Q: Rex indicated that Sammy Watkins may see some playing time on Friday. How important is that to your development what you guys have done on the practice field?
A: Definitely important for us to go out there and get some reps. I know he’s excited. His first game action since having the surgery so I’m pretty sure he’s excited to get out there and make some plays, just bouncing around with the guys. I’m definitely excited to have him out there.

Q: You found some chemistry in that last game against the Jets. How eager are you to see what you guys can do now?
A: I’m definitely eager to see how we can build. Understand, that was last year. We’re a totally different team as far as the comfort level in offense that we have now. Like I said, we know what type of player Sammy is. Once you get the ball in his hands he can be very special. So it’s my job to do that. I’m just excited to have him out there on the field. He’s been looking good in practice and looking forward to how we can build from this game and moving forward.

Q: Rex has talked a lot about how the defense is wanting to be a lot different, better than last year. Is the offense doing any things to change? Or is it just building like you did? How would you describe the progression? If the defense is progressing one way, how are you guys doing?
A: We’re definitely trying to keep building on a lot of the things that we’ve done well last year. Of course, correct some of the things we didn’t do so well. Coach Roman and I have definitely spent some time looking at some of the things he’s done in San Fran as well too. Maybe trying to find a place for that too. But just continue to keep focusing and get better at the thing that we’re doing.

Q: Are you happy at the way that your camp is going?
A: Yes. Definitely happy. I think that I made some strides, and I think as an offense, we made strides. I’m excited to see what this team can do this year. I have a real good feeling about the players that we have out there. We just have to stay healthy as a unit on both sides of the ball, and we can definitely make some special plays happen.

Q: Tyrod, based on injuries and the release of Karlos Williams, Jonathan Williams is a guy who got a lot of carries last week and probably a lot to be expected of him. What do you see in him and how he’s progressing?
A: He’s been looking very good. Very patient runner. He’s smart in terms of blitz pickup as well too. He’s excited for the opportunity. We knew it was a competition in the running back room and he’s definitely held up his part as far as going out there and making plays. Like I said, he’s been looking very good throughout practices and preseason games so far.

Q: For a guy who had to sit out a year too to come back, have you seen him as camp has gone on, getting more comfortable?
A: Yeah. I remember when we put on pads he was like, “Man this is the first time I put on pads in over a year.” So of course, he was excited to be back out there playing the sport he loves to play so am I happy for him? Yeah, he has a great opportunity in front of him and he realizes it and is going out there and making plays.

Q: You’ve maintained over this offseason that you want to be more of a leader. Now that camp is over, can you speak to the ways that you feel more comfortable?
A: I would say the player meetings was definitely something big. As far as offense goes, having the receivers, the tight ends, the running backs in the same room. Just talking through practices. Talking through different periods. Whether it’s two man or red zone and just getting on the same page.  Think that was something big for our unit. Guys definitely left that meeting feeling more comfortable about the offense and I definitely did too. I got a chance to see that our guys are learning certain things that we’re putting in. Trying to correct those things as well.

Q: Does it come a lot easier over the last year? A little easier? Can you quantify just how—
A: Oh, it’s hard to quantify how much easier it came but it’s definitely, the communication level is definitely been something that we’ve worked on. Guys are getting on the same page, especially the skills positions. I’m definitely happy where that’s set now, and just got to continue to keep building on it.

Q: A lot has happened with this team this summer at training camp. Injuries, suspensions, things like that. How do you think internally you guys were able to deal with all that and how do you feel that you’ve done that?
A: I think internally, we’ve been able to block it. As far as—I guess you can label it distractions—guys are just grinding away. Tying to get better. Focusing on details each and every day. I mean it’s unfortunate that some of those things have happened but I mean it’s the game of football, and stuff happens like that in the National Football League. I think this team has done a good job at blocking it out and keeping the focus on football and getting better as a team.

Q: From your vantage point, what make Stephon Gilmore such a good cornerback?
A: Oh he has great instincts. Of course he’s a long guy but definitely has great instincts and he’s comfortable playing the ball. Some corners panic once they get beat. He trusts his speed and he has great ball skills.

Q: With McCoy and Bush, two players with very similar skill sets, does that present some interesting options for you guys on offense? Possibly playing those two at the same time?
A: Possibly.

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